Aside from actor Kevin Bacon hawking Google TV for Logitech as some balding Kevin Bacon fanboy, have you seen a lot of ads for the Revue or Google TV? Google, which prefers a soft launch to a hard sale, followed by word-of-mouth promotion, should have put the kind of marketing oomph Verizon Wireless used for its Droid smartphones into Google TV.
Price Point Too High
Until July 31, users had to pay $249 for the Google TV-powered Revue box, which actually launched last fall for $299. Google and Logitech learned that just because there's an Intel processor inside doesn't mean the box will sell well. Google and its partners failed to deliver enough value to justify the cost of Google TV. If the new $99 price point doesn't do the trick, we don't know what will.
Apple already offers a Web-streaming service for $99, called Apple TV. It doesn't have the full Web browser functionality that Google TV leverages with Chrome, but it streams Netflix and YouTube well enough. Apple fans and hobbyists picked this easy-to-use product over Google TV as the company reported an uptick in sales since refreshing the product last September.
Google TV Set-Up Stinks
The first three points explain what kept users from buying Google TV in the first place. But what made consumers and retailers bring it back? Here is one problem: the set-up. Setting up the system takes 15 to 40 minutes, depending how quickly you type and grok Web connection set-ups. This is because, in order to enjoy full functionality, you have to provision the Logitech Revue and remote keyboard to recognize your audio-visual receiver, your set-top box/cable service and your TV set. To say there are many hoops to jump through is an understatement. People may have gotten frustrated and sent it back.
Buggy Netflix Service
Those that did suffer through the set-up process may have found the keyboard controller unusable, or worse, the service buggy. The Netflix application works well maybe 66 percent of the time and loads slowly even with a strong WiFi connection. Sometimes it won't load at all. It doesn't matter if it's Netflix' fault or Google TV's fault. The whole product takes a hit when this happens. It's possible that the Google TV 2.0 upgrade will take off this summer by offering users access to Honeycomb and the Android Market. If this service is vastly improved over 1.0, word of mouth might carry people to the platform. But the bugs need to be squashed.
Blocked Web Content
Users can't get Hulu and other services on Google TV, while major broadcast players Fox, CBS and others blocked Google TV users from accessing their Website content. Hulu is up for sale, so it's possible a broadcast network could get its assets anyway.
Lack of Interest
Some folks just don't find value in the whole "browser on the big screen theme." We're not one of those, but many people still view TV content as necessarily separate from the Web.
Apple Television (not Apple TV)
To that end, maybe Apple may change their minds. That's right. Some people are waiting for the full Apple Television. Some Apple fans who have the Apple TV hobby box will jump at the chance to have an Apple TV with a Web browser that fully pivots applications between the big screen, the iPad and the iPhone. There go Google TV's prospects. Apple is a trusted consumer brand for hardware. Google's Android platform is only as good as its partners ability to sell devices running the software.